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France celebrated Saturday as Thibaut Pinot conquered the Pyrenean summit of la Col du Tourmalet with Julian Alaphilippe following him across the line to extend his general Tour de France lead.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas lost 35 seconds soon after getting dropped by Pinot at the death, even though his Ineos co-captain Egan Bernal completed a couple of seconds behind the winner at the 1st of seven summit finishes more than 2000 metres.

Pinot had vowed to attack this stage soon after losing time to an Ineos-led attack in a crosswind on the narrow road to Albi on Monday had angered him and his group.

Thomas is now more than two minutes behind Alaphilippe in the common classification soon after he began to endure with 500 metres to go.

Though this was far from disastrous, Thomas losing time to Alaphilippe on two consecutive stages exactly where he himself had predicted the reverse is a thing of an upset.

French president Emmanuel Macron followed the complete stage from the lead vehicle in the vast caravan and appeared animated as he was flanked on the podium by his two compatriots.

“This man has heart,” he stated seeking at Alaphilippe. “France is proud of them each.”

As the 117km stage 14 climbed above the tree-line and above the mist exactly where the oxygen levels had been reduced and fans at fever pitch lent a hint of insanity to proceedings, contenders for the general victory steadily fell by the wayside.

Adam Yates, Dan Martin, Nairo Quintana and Jakob Fuglsang, wilted 1 soon after the other as the Pinot and his FDJ climb companion kept up the pace.

Pinot revenge as Thomas struggles                 

Handful of anticipated the yellow jersey wearer Alaphilippe to thrive on Friday’s time-trial, which he won, and fewer nonetheless anticipated him to survive right here on the Tourmalet.

But Alaphilippe dug deep and when he climbed out of the saddle to win the sprint for second cheers for him had been even louder than these for the common Pinot. 

“Because the begin of the Tour I’ve been targeting this stage, this is the 1 I wanted, the mythical Tourmalet,” stated Pinot.

“We are going into the third week now, people today will be tired, but this is exactly where I really feel very best,” added the Frenchman, who is placed sixth general, 3mins 12sec off Alaphilippe.

Pinot has lengthy been believed a prospective champion this year with the nation waiting for its 1st Tour de France win due to the fact 1985.

Fans had been weaving up the Tourmalet due to the fact dawn and there was a carnival atmosphere with pretty much as several Basque flags as French ones.

But it was to be a French day.

Pinot, helped up the hill by young French champion David Gaudu, in no way faltered on the lengthy final climb and his group boss at FDJ Marc Madiot was ecstatic at the finish. 

Madiot had been upset by comments from Ineos boss dave Brailsford on Monday when Pinot dropped down the rankings soon after obtaining caught in a crosswind.

“It feels very good to twist the knife,” Brailsford stated Monday.

Madiot was noticed screaming “yes, yes, yes” at the finish line ahead of racing off to embrace his group leader.

“Excellent determination, terrific perform ethic and sheer talent, had been fortunate to have these guys with us,” stated Madiot who had vowed his group would attack right now.

(AFP)

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